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Tributes paid to D-Day veteran, oldest member of Rushmere Golf Club and man who established diving club

PUBLISHED: 14:50 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:57 13 June 2018

Ray Marshall

Ray Marshall

Archant

Tributes have been flooding in following the death of Ray Marshall the oldest playing member at Rushmere Golf Club and a long standing diver who helped establish the first dedicated diving club in Ipswich.

Ray Marshall, 92,  is on the golf course every day.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Ray Marshall, 92, is on the golf course every day. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Up until only a few months ago the former D-Day Veteran was regularly seen playing at his favourite course three times a week.

Born in 1925, the 93-year-old was schooled at Tower Ramparts, in Ipswich, and survived German “butterfly” bombs in the Second World War on the beaches of France, to dodging Afghan bullets on the Kyber Pass on his 21st birthday.

Married for more than 50 years to his late wife Peggy, who died 11 years ago aged 80, and leaves a daughter, Toni Marshall, and two grandchildren. Ray never let the grass grow under his feet, with sport front and centre of much of his world.

He would regularly be seen with his friends David Earle, Ivan Smith and Robin Bloyce on the golf course.

Ray Marshall, 92, on Rushmere Golf Course. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Ray Marshall, 92, on Rushmere Golf Course. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Much of his life revolved around sport. He was a life member of both Ipswich Swimming Club and Ipswich Sub-Aqua Club and even had a swimming pool at his home in Old Norwich Road.

A former Class One football referee, he played at Portman Road in the Saul Charity Cup Final in 1946, while he was also a prolific skier – though his skiing came to an end when, at 76, he was knocked over on the piste.

He joined Rushmere in 1957, and has been down as low as a 12 handicapper and has seen more than 50 club captains come and go.

He began diving in 1946 after being discharged from the army.

Ray Marshall celebrates his 90th birthday at I-Dive Ipswich Diving club at Fore Street Pool. Ray Marshall celebrates his 90th birthday at I-Dive Ipswich Diving club at Fore Street Pool.

It wasn’t long before he helped found the Ipswich branch of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) which later merged with the Sunstar Suq Aqua Club to form I-Dive.

Bob Tawell, the general manager at the golf club, who had known Ray for 16 years, said he could set his watch by him as he came down the ninth fairway.

“He continued to play golf up until the last few months and I could set my clock by my office window when he came up to the ninth green at 3 o’clock.

“He would come into the clubhouse and have a pot of coffee with a large piece of fruit cake and in the summer a pint of beer and fruit cake. We will all miss him.”

Ray Marshall celebrates his 90th birthday at I-Dive Ipswich Diving club at Fore Street Pool. Ray Marshall celebrates his 90th birthday at I-Dive Ipswich Diving club at Fore Street Pool.

He moved to a care home in Barnes to be nearer his daughter who lives in Wandsworth, north London, and suffered a fall and died in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

She said: “He was a person who would have a go at anything and he even found a pair of contact lenses for somebody in Broomhill Swimming Pool.

“He never cooked and lived by ready meals and the microwave and he used to unravel ropes caught in the propellers of boats but loved swimming and taught so many people in his pool at home.”

He was famous for carrying out acrobatic dives off the 5-metre board at the pool and worked as a ship broker and insurance manager in the town.

1963 Water Polo team members Ivan, Ray Marshall, Roy, and John Ling 1963 Water Polo team members Ivan, Ray Marshall, Roy, and John Ling

Carol Wood, I-Dive’s publicity officer, said: “Ray had a real sense of humour. One of his anecdotes is falling into a swimming pool and lying there pretending to be unconscious (he could hold his breath for a very long time) just to see if anyone would rescue him.

“Another is a genuine recovery operation of golf balls from a pond at the golf club which and an unsuspecting dog walker saw this creature emerge from the pond.

“He lived a very full and active life and remained interested in scuba diving and the club he founded for over 60 years. He was a pioneer and an inspiration.”

His funeral is being held on Friday, June 22, with a private green burial for his family and donations can be made in lieu of flowers to Age UK Suffolk.

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